Want to firm up product offerings

I run an educational site called AngularOnRails.com. The engagement I get there is, by my standards, pretty good. The traffic is about 5000-6000 per month. My email list, currently at 550, grows by about 40 subscribers a week.

Based on conversations with grateful “followers”, I understand that I’m delivering a lot of value to a lot of people. What’s not happening yet is I’m not getting compensated for that value.

That’s somewhat imprecise to say I’m not getting compensated: I’m launching a book on August 30th and I’ve presold $322 worth of the book. So that’s a start but I can do a lot better.

In my “product ladder” I so far have 1) a free email mini-course and 2) a $39 book.

I intend to add more offerings to my product ladder but I’m having a hard time decided exactly what. Ideas I’ve had include:

  • One-time video courses
  • One-time live trainings
  • Ongoing video subscriptions
  • Ongoing live trainings

I imagine there’s a pattern that other tech subscription site type businesses use that are successful but I’m not sure what it is. It’s hard to tell because frankly it seems like a lot of other tech training sites are operated fairly ineptly from a business perspective and I don’t want to emulate others with the assumption that they’re successful when they really aren’t.

One thing that concerns me slightly is that 90% of my subscribers seem to be from places like India, South America or Eastern Europe where people tend not to have much money. Perhaps I can use that fact to my advantage somehow. Don’t know yet.

So my point is that as I finish up and release my book, I could use some help in figuring out a good way to package something higher-value and sell it for more than a book.

(And to be clear, I know what material people are interested in, I just haven’t decided yet how to package that material whether it be one-time courses, subscriptions, etc.)


See my response on the other thread… Take a look at Laracast… they have a model I subscribe to and is more than one course… although it is laravel centric, it gives you a lot of workflows for many development tasks…

He gets 9$ a month from me… non stop… he made over 100$ with me to date but I would never have bought one of the courses for 100$… His price point is such that I feel I support his great work and he keeps on pumping bleeding edge intros to new shit I end up watching pretty much every month… His introduction to Vue is great… has nothing to do with Laravel… but ties into it in another course…

Just my 2 cents.

I dunno if I fall into the “inept” category or not. I’ve supported myself
and my family entirely on video subscriptions and book sales for several
years now.

I’m not sure what to tell you regarding product directions. I will say that
whatever you choose should probably flow directly out of the value you’re

What I mean is: you know you’re delivering value. But what exactly is
that value? What is it you do that makes your subscribers more awesome?

For years I didn’t think about this carefully enough. I saw my role as a)
knowing things; b) writing/screencasting those things in a systematic way;
and c) selling those products.

As I’m planning strategy now, I’m getting a lot of value from examining
precisely what it is I do that takes people from “I have heard the name
Avdi Grimm” to (as one commenter said the other day) “You’re definitely one
of my desert island people”.

What was the precise transformation that occurred there? How can I best
achieve that transformation for more people?

1 Like

@avdi Avdi! I didn’t know you hung out here. I’m familiar with your work although it didn’t really occur to me to think of Ruby Tapas as something similar to what I’m trying to do. But now that you remind me of its existence I think it’s a good business to add to my “swipe file”.

I’m firmed up my ideas a little since posting the other day. I believe I want to offer one-time courses and not put out subscription-based material, at least for now.

The reasons are that a) I don’t want to be on the hook for releasing new content every month and b) the main thing I teach - how to use Angular with Rails - is more of a finite set of steps than an area of study that I could keep talking about in perpetuity.

I think what I want to sell next is a $199 course that includes videos, live sessions and a Slack org that lasts the duration of the course. Then after that’s released maybe I’ll come up with a $499 course.

The value is that the niche, Angular + Rails, is so narrow that barely anybody is teaching the things I’m teaching. So the material is valuable largely by virtue of the fact that the information simply isn’t available anywhere else.

Let me press you a little harder on this, if you’ll allow me :slight_smile: What you’ve described is, to me, not value. It’s just something unique about you.

After someone consumes something you’ve created, what is the change they will see in their life? In how they see themselves? In their impact on the world?

I’m only pushing because I wish someone had done it for me, years ago.

1 Like

Got it. Sorry, I misunderstood. This is something I’m trying to figure out. One of the emails in my email sequence asks, “Why are you interested in this course? Are you looking for a new job? Just trying to stay on top of new technology?” It seems that a lot of people are in fact looking for a new job.

It also seems like a lot of people are trying to get their first programming job and really have no good reason, IMO, to learn Angular + Rails. Really, they should be working on getting the basics down before they get super tactical like that.

So I’m trying to balance the fact that I’m seeing people who really need general “I want to become a programmer” help with the fact that I’m solving the very specific problem of “how do I get Angular and Rails to work together?”

I think it’s probably important for me to have a narrow focus, at least in the beginning, and “I’ll teach you how to make your Angular/Rails app work” is a lot more compelling than “I’ll teach you some programming” which is undifferentiated from any of the other coding resources that are out there.

So I’m not sure what to do with the “deep why”. For now I’m just kind of taking notes but not really acting on it except to mention sometimes in my marketing material that this stuff can help you be a more marketable developer.

I appreciate you digging deeper into this. Obviously I don’t have this part nailed down very well yet.

Two thoughts:

  • Why did you learn Angular + Rails? Perhaps mulling that over will give you some other possible answers and allow you to get a bit deeper in that value piece.
  • It seems you have uncover another possible opportunity (at least within your community of email list subscribers). Do you happen to have any helpful advice in regard to them trying to get their first programming job? There’s nothing that says you have to sell them what you thought you brought them together for (in your email list community).

Hey, I don’t have it nailed down yet either. I just find that often, simply asking the question leads me to surprising avenues for satisfying my audience in a way I hadn’t considered before.

@jtr I learned it because I understand Angular is hot right now and I want to keep my skills relevant. A lot of my subscribers probably have similar motivation.

I have tons of job search advice I could give people. I regularly wrestle with that idea in my head. Do I want to start going down the job search advice path? Any time I spend on that is time not spent going in the direction in which I already have momentum. So far my decision has but not to go that way now.